Thursday, 29 May 2008

BHF hits the road

Next week a large, red truck will be parked up outside supermarkets in the north east of England. Not just any old red van though, but the BHF Live! roadshow truck.

Inside our team of BHF nurses will be offering full heart health checks to shoppers including blood pressure and cholesterol checks.

Other BHF team members will be on hand in store to talk about healthy eating and getting active, as well as giving away some free heart healthy recipes.

We think it's a great idea but we'd love to know what you think? Would you like to see a BHF Live! truck in your area? Post your comment now.

Details about the BHF Live! roadshow are on our main website.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Advice at your fingertips

Sometimes we all need a little help remembering to stick to our 'get healthy' resolutions - which is why we're offering a free text message support service.

Our text service offers you a selection of motivational reminders on Healthy Eating, Get Active and Giving Up Smoking.

All you have to do is fill in our sign up form and remember to switch your phone on. Then you'll get a weekly message written by our heart health team.

Easy isn't it?. No more excuses!

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Planning ahead is the best policy

At this time of the year our Heart Help Line is innundated with travel enquiries. Many of you ask us - can I get travel insurance if I have a heart condition?

The answer is yes, if you shop around. And while we don't endorse any particular companies, we have put together a list of providers from feedback supplied by heart patients.

You can get all our latest advice on the Holiday and Travel top tips section on our main website.

Plus, we'll soon be releasing our travel advice podcast, answering all your holiday and travel questions...keep an eye out on our main website.

Meanwhile, please tell us about your travel insurance experiences. Post a comment now.

Monday, 26 May 2008

10th Anniversary Over the Edge ride

The 10th Anniversary Over the Edge Bike Ride, organised in partnership with our friends at Trans Pennine Cycle Club, took place earlier this month.

Of the 400+ cyclists who took part in the challenge, around half took on the arduous 55 mile route from Hollingworth Lake, over Blackstone Edge and into the East Lancashire and West Yorkshire moors.

Others opted for the silver and bronze routes, among them a number of families who rode together.

As always there were a lot of regular riders, who take on the challenge year after year, as well as new faces.

Special thanks to David Geldard, Colin Fielding, Phil Dean & everyone involved at Trans Pennine Cycle Club and of course to everyone who has raised money for the BHF by taking part.

Take a look at the photos on our BHF Flickr page

If you would like to buy professional prints of any of the photos you can place an order with photographer James Lester on 01925 819 804. And, in doing so, you'll help us raise vital funds through donations we receive from photo sales.

Friday, 23 May 2008

100 mile battle of the Ride of the Roses

If Martyn's Tour de France challenge whetted your apetite to get into the saddle and take on the hills, you may want to consider our August Ride of the Roses as a closer to home and slightly less taxing option.

This 100 mile bike ride sets off from Lancaster University and follows the varied and breathtaking landscapes of Northern England, including the stunning Trough of Bowland, Gisburn Forest and the rugged unspoilt scenery of the Yorkshire Dales.

The severity of the climbs is not quite up there with the French Alps but, with the majority of the route taking place on rural roads, there are some steep gradients and challenging hills to overcome before reaching the finish line in historic York.

Find out more and register for the 2008 BHF Ride of the Roses.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Martyn Jones gets in the saddle to help hearts

Hertford man, Martyn Jones, plans to ride the gruelling route of the Tour de France, just three days before the event, to raise money for the BHF and the Association of Young People with ME (AYME).

Martyn has first hand experience of both diseases as he was diagnosed with ME in his late-teens and lost both grandparents to heart disease. Fortunately, at 34, Martin is now well over his ME and it was cycling that got him fit again.

“I wanted to donate half of the money I raise to a charity that promotes sport and especially my passion – cycling. The BHF do so many fantastic rides including London to Brighton, Oxford to Cambridge and the Norwich Ride, so they were an obvious choice. Plus both my grandparents died of heart disease.”

Esther Rantzen also has experience of both diseases: “The impact of ME on young people is especially damaging because it hits them at a crucial stage of their lives. My late husband, Des Wilcox, died far too young, aged 69, from heart disease, so both these charities are very near to my own heart.”

Martyn does six hours a day of hard cycling in perparation for the 3,500km endurance event. “It will be three weeks of mind-numbing distance riding in the toughest terrain in Europe, but I’m up for the challenge.”

Martyn is paying for the event out of his own savings and hopes to raise £30,000 to split between both charities.

Support Martyn at his Just Giving page and help the BHF fight heart disease, the UK’s single biggest killer, and help the AYME support young people with ME.

If you'd like to help support our lifesaving work, then why not take part in one of our events.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Bangers rally across Europe on recycled cooking oil!

Leaving on 16 August, BHF supporter Andy Pag will lead a team of 30 cars on a two week journey across Europe to Greece - running on only cooking oil.

Andy, 34, from Croydon, south London, told BBC London: "The idea is to see if using waste vegetable oil for long distances is practical and feasible, and to have a bit of a laugh on the way. We want to do a banger rally with no carbon footprints."

Terming the trip as a "fat-finding" mission - the team will leave on a full tank of vegetable oil but will have to find restaruants and cafes en route for further donations 'fuel'. If pushed for supplies - and, by this point, they may literally be pushing - they will be allowed to buy biodiesel or cooking oil.

The route will go through Germany, Austria and Italy, among other countries. Anyone can sign up, and entrance costs £99. Proceeds will help to raise money for the BHF.

Support Andy and his team on their worthy venture!

Are you on an unusual fundraising mission? Then let us know

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

e-mail scammers target the BHF

Fraudsters have in the last few weeks been e-mailing a large number of US and UK residents, purporting to be either a fictitious board member of the BHF, Mart Smith, or John Edwards, the BHF’s recently-retired Finance Director, or Ken Blair, a current director, or Peter Hollins, the BHF's Chief Executive.

The e-mail enquires whether recipients would be prepared to accept cheques payable to the BHF for payment into their bank accounts and then to issue their own cheques for 90% of the value, whilst retaining 10% commission.

It is therefore a fairly obvious attempt at money laundering.

If you have been approached in this manner, please be advised that it is fraudulent and report the matter to your local criminal investigation authorities.

We have reported the matter to the fraud investigation authorities. We are alarmed and outraged that our name has been misrepresented in this disgraceful manner and very much regret the inconvenience caused to anyone who has been approached in this way.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Time to dump the school run?

Did you know that 50% of children don't walk to school regularly, and more and more pupils are being driven to school in a car?

This trend is contributing to reduced physical activity and increased childhood obesity, urban congestion and air pollution. And it's the key driver (pun intended!) behind this week's Walk to School Week (19-23 May).

Now in its 13th year, the Walk to School Campaign asks parents, pupils and teachers to think about their journey to and from school, and the many benefits of making it on foot.

And they have a neat way of summing up the main benefits of walking to school, which all add up to spell out SCHOOL...

S = Safety Training - walking regularly with a child from a young age enables them to develop life skills, preparing children with road safety and personal awareness skills.

C = Congestion reduction - fewer cars on our roads is good for the environment and local communities; fewer cars at the school gate can make it safer for pupils making their way to and from school.

H = Health benefits - walking to and from school allows adults and children to incorporate physical activity into their daily routines.

O = On the ball at school - pupils who walk to school arrive wide awake and are therefore more prepared for the school day ahead.

O = Our fun and friendship - friends and family can walk to and from school together and enjoy some quality time.

L = Learning for life - walking regularly enables a child to become more familiar with their surroundings and provides them with the opportunity to learn about the weather and changing seasons first hand.

Find out more at the Walk to School Campaign website, and read more about How to Keep Children Healthy on the main BHF website.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Summer skate events

BHF supporter Alan Smyth is taking on two challenging skates to raise funds for us.

First up is the Lush Longboards Bath to Bristol Charity Skate, which is a 15 mile course to cover, from Bath to Bristol.

Then on 10 August, historic Goodwood will see some skating speed at the Roller Marathon Event. This really is a true marathon, with some 26 miles to cover, or 11 laps round the legendary race track.

You can show your support for Alan through his Just Giving pages:

Just Giving Lush Longboards Bath to Bristol Charity Skate

Just Giving Goodwood Roller Marathon Event

And take a look at other ways to Get Involved with the BHF.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Bostin boost for heart health

Support Donato Esposito and help him reach his aim of raising £5,000 for the BHF, as he hikes the Inca Trail this month.

Donato is the Founder of the Bostin Group and is selling these limited edition 'Feel the Bostin Love' T-shirts in aid of the BHF on the Bostin website

If you were wondering, Bostin is acutally a Brummie term for 'brilliant'. And it certainly is a bostin idea for an even more bostin cause!

Get one of these limited edition tees now, in time for summer!

You can also show your support for Donato on his BHF Sponsor Page

See how you too can help us raise funds so that we can continue our vital work and research.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

BHF comp winner off to UEFA Cup showdown

Real Radio winner Evelyn Marshall is off to Manchester tonight to watch the UEFA Cup Final between Rangers and Zenit St Petersburg, courtesy of competition tickets donated to the station by a generous British Heart Foundation Scotland supporter.

Rangers will be hoping to begin a clean sweep of European titles for British football teams tonight, in the run up to the highly-anticipated Champions League Final between Manchester United and Chelsea in Moscow next week.

Thousands of Rangers fans entered the competition, raising over £12,000 for the BHF Scotland Forth Valley Equipment Appeal.

Around 11,000 people in the local area live with heart disease and the Appeal aims to raise £30,000 for a new 3D Stress Echocardiograph, to benefit heart patients of all ages.

Pictured is Evelyn, receiving her tickets from Real Radio’s Ewen Cameron and Alan Rough, with former Rangers star Mark Hateley.

For more information on tonight's game see the UEFA website

For more information on football and how to get involved see our BHF Partners page for the Football Association, one of our supporters.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

BHF runners bolt in the sun to raise £30,000

More than 800 people turned out in the brilliant sunshine on Sunday to take part in the BHF's 10km Blenheim Bolt, which raised approximately £30,00 for us.

Margaret Morley walked the course after having surgery to replace a heart valve just over a year ago.

This time last year, 70 year old Margaret could walk no more than 50 yards. She said: "The British Heart Foundation have given me my life back...since I got the new valve I'm much better."

Congratulations to everyone who took part in the Blenheim Bolt and thank you for your support!

The Bolt was won by Oxford University graduate Tucker Murphy.

Find out how you can get involved with the BHF or find an event to take part in.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Day in the life of a children's heart nurse

Our children's heart nurses perform a tremendously important role in caring for and supporting young heart patients and their families.

They are generally based at one main hospital but also cover neighbouring regions, regularly working out of local clinics.

The role of a paediatric cardiac liaison nurse is a challenging and immensely busy one but, as BHF children's heart nurse Caroline explains, the rewards are tremendous and the workload always varied.

Experience a day in Caroline's life as a BHF paediatric heart nurse.

Download our free vodcast and see how little two year old Cordelia is now full of life, after being helped to recover from major heart surgery by heart nurses.

Hear all about the work of our BHF Heart Nurses and Heart Helpline team by downloading our free Heart Nurses podcast

Friday, 9 May 2008

Women stub out heart disease

Great news for women who no longer smoke.. and for those who haven't yet managed to quit, here's another good reason to do so.

According to a report published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association, women who stop smoking can radically reduce their risk of death from coronary heart disease within just five years.

They will also decrease their risk of death from smoking related cancers by around 20%.

If you have recently given up smoking or want to do so, then boost your resolution to quit by subscribing to our free Heart Health 'Giving Up Smoking' motivational text message service.

Plus, you can either order or download our Smoking and How to Give Up booklet.

Find further information on smoking and how to stop at:

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Joining forces for cardiovascular care

It might be yet another lovely, sunny day but that doesn't mean we're not hard at work.

Our campaigns team is at the House of Commons along with 31 other third sector bodies, demanding a new Government strategy to combat cardio vascular disease.

The Cardio & Vascular Coalition (CVC) is lobbying the Government for a new cardiovascular strategy for England. Why? Because heart and circulatory disease is the UK's biggest killer.

To find out more go to the CVC website.

For more on the support and resources we offer heart patients and their families see our main website.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Our Doubt Kills campaign gets a third wave

Our award-winning Doubt Kills campaign - which first ran in 2006 and again last summer - is currently enjoying a month-long reprise on the billboards, tube posters and bus sides of London.

As the majority of our users are based outside London, we nevertheless thought it a good opportunity to remind you of the core message of Doubt Kills, which is this: If you experience chest pain, call 999 immediately.

You can read more about this message, and hear from people whose lives have been saved by the campaign, on our special Doubt Kills website

There's also a free Doubt Kills podcast, an animation of what happens to your heart during a heart attack, plus an informative interactive quiz - and much more besides.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Enjoy healthier fast food

There's been a lot of Press coverage about an ITV programme tonight, Too Fat to Toddle. The show takes a look at the issue of childhood obesity.

As most parents know getting children to eat a healthy, balanced diet can sometimes be tricky.

You might not be able to stop kids wanting to eat pizza and burgers, but you can make them healthier. Our dietician has put together some simple ideas on how to make healthy changes to the odd fast food treat.

See Healthier fast food on our main website.

We've also got a section on Healthy children packed with info on healthy eating, how to get kids active and events for young people.

Friday, 2 May 2008

BHF-funded defibrillator saves heart attack victim

A man who had a heart attack while playing football has met the husband and wife Community First Response team who helped save his life with a defibrillator funded by the British Heart Foundation.

Last November, 35-year-old Chris Ford was playing football at the Lilleshall Sports Centre in Shropshire when he collapsed.

First to arrive were CFRs Julie and Terry Talbot of the Newport CFR scheme. With First Aiders from the sports centre already giving CPR, Julie applied the BHF defibrillator pads and the machine twice instructed to administer shocks.

While he was being taken to Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital, Chris was administered a third shock. He spent more than seven weeks in hospital, including 12 days in the Intensive Therapy Unit.

Meeting Julie and Terry Talbot at Donnington Ambulance Station, Chris said: “It’s absolutely amazing, superb, fantastic. Everything I have now is because of Julie.”

Chris is now back at home with wife Abigail and four children (all pictured above with Terry and Julie). He has resumed regular visits to the gym and has just played his first game of basketball since the incident.

Chris is hoping to return to work as a computer programmer later this year, and is particularly looking forward to being allowed to drive again.

He said: “Now and again I just go into the garage and stroke my motorbike!”

Terry said the key to success in this case was the quick action of staff in starting CPR on Chris.

He said: “My message to people who start giving CPR is to carry on. Julie and I have been to cases where people have stopped the compressions because they thought the patient was dead. I say never give up.”

Find out more about the BHF's funding for defibrillators

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Bloggers bare all in debate on our sex and swimming poster

Our inclusion (and others) in the Top 10 Most Complained About Adverts of 2007 - as compiled by the Advertising Standards Authority in its latest annual report and blogged here yesterday - has stirred some vigorous debate over on Guardian Unlimited.

As we posted yesterday, our sex and swimming advert - to promote the exercise message of our 30 a Day campaign last year - attracted 122 complaints from the public, taking it to number 7 in the Top 10 list and sparking much debate.

"Who actually wastes their life complaining about adverts? Seriously, how could anyone be offended by the British Heart Foundation ad above? Religious types can choose to believe that the couple above are married if they are worried about adultery or something," posts 'RightWingGit' on the Guardian's Comment Is Free blog

"The British Heart Foundation ad is great: natural, warm and normal," writes 'dholliday'.

And 'Dotterel' adds: "I don't see the problem with the BHF one, surely objecting to that is a bit like objecting to an ad encouraging running in case someone goes running through a dodgy neighbourhood in the dark and gets mugged?

"If it was the blokes bare a*** there are far worse examples to get worked up about, unless it was the fact it was a blokes? I also have to admit to being a bit old fashioned and assuming the couple on the BHF ad were married!"

Perhaps the last word goes to 'hyperchild': "I remember the British Heart Foundation ad campaign because I found it so ridiculous. While displaying a very lovely warm image of an older couple, its message is quite patronising.

"Instructing people to have sex for the sake of getting exercise, wtf? a) Not all people have sex in the same way (sex isn't just confined to one act anyway) and b)sex isn't just continuous motion. Thus it's not a replacement for actial aerobic exercise - walking, running, cycling - which your heart needs. Being instructed to have sex by a charity-sponsored billboard is just wrong."

Join the debate and have your say on the Most Complained About Adverts of 2007